The Iowa Department of Natural Reources issued an Air Quality Advisory today (Tuesday), saying the air quality across large areas of Iowa was unhealthy for sensitive groups. D-N-R air quality specialist Brian Button says It’s a problem that extends beyond Iowa. He says, “We have a stagnant air mass across the upper midwest, where normal everyday emissions are not dispersing or mixing in the atmosphere like the typically do.” Button says certain people will be more affected by the stagnant air than others. He says people in senstive groups, such as those who have lung or heart disease, asthma, and even healthy adults, shouldn’t be out exercising, doing a lot of heavy activity, etc. He says they should try and postpone those activities until Thursday, when more typical air quailty conditions return. He says the level of pollution in the air is measured by the Air Quality Index — and it’s unusual to see it this bad in Iowa. He says, “Typically in Iowa, the air will fall into the “good” or “moderate” catagories on a daily basis. The A-Q-I is usually one-to 50, which is “good,” while 51-to 100- is “moderate.” Anything over 101 is potentially unhealthy for some of the more sensitive groups that are outdoors doing a lot of activities. The A-Q-I in Des Moines today measures 119. In Cedar Rapids, it’s 112, and a monitor at Viking Lake State Park in Southwest Iowa’s Montgomery County, produced a reading of 104. Surrounding counties experienced similar levels, while other areas of the state have elevated, but more moderate pollution levels. To put the conditions into perspective, Button says other parts of the country, such as in Los Angeles, California, experience days like this 80-days out of the year, and at higher levels. Our air quality he says, is better than what Americans breathe on a typical day.
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